Immigration bond is the bond the immigration asks migrants to deposit as a guarantee that they will show up to court and attend all of the relevant hearings. The bond, often issued by an immigration bond agency, is a promise that if the defendant is released from detention, he or she will not jump bail and follow the instructions issued by the judge, including possible deportation. However, the defendant should know that being released from detention is not the end of the case, as s/he still needs to attend all her/his court date. Missing a single hearing could mean deportation without the chance to provide evidence to the judge to show why the defendant was unable to show up to court and the bond money can be forfeited. By 2.00 PM on the same day, the detainee is in the custody of the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), s/he has already been assigned a bond and is allowed to contact a family member.
To be eligible for a bond, a detainee has to prove that he or she is not a flight risk and poses no threat to the community. In some cases, the detainee may not be eligible due to criminal convictions of some sort or previous instances of deportation. In other cases, ICE may deny a detainee a bond because of the failure to cooperate with the official and provide answers to their questions. The detainee should speak with their pro bono immigration lawyer regarding their case before the first hearing so that they can know beforehand whether or not they are eligible for a bond.
Requesting a bond hearing
In some cases, ICE may provide paperwork indicating a bond amount. In other cases, the words “no bond” are used. The detainee may also ask the judge to schedule a bond hearing and set or lower the bond amount issued by ICE. There are several ways detainees can ask for a bond hearing. They can ask the judge for a bond hearing as soon as possible, preferably during the first hearing or write the judge a hearing letter. If the hearing is scheduled soon before the detainee gathers enough evidence, he or she may ask the judge to reschedule the bond hearing to allow for more time for letters and to collect the necessary documents.
What to bring to your bond hearing
You should be equipped for your bond hearing by bringing sponsor letters and other supporting documents. Letters that are not written in English may also have to be translated. This letter is a crucial document that can be issued to the judge and often contains the sponsor’s relationship with the detained person, the sponsor’s legal immigration status (has to be a citizen or the country’s legal permanent resident). Proof of the sponsor’s immigration status should also be attached to the letter. Other details include the physical address of the sponsor and where the detainee is expected to stay and proof of that address supported by a bill with the name and address of the sponsor. Other supporting documents are required as proof that the detained has strong ties to the community and will unlikely commit other crimes if released. The judge may also consider these documents and so you should have them if you want to support your case. Here are a few examples of good evidence to support your case:
- I-130 approval notice
- Proof that close relatives of the detained have legal status in the U.S. (Birth Certificates, Legal Permanent spouse, children, parent)
- Letters of support from loved ones, including drawings from children
- A copy of the ID of the individual who wrote the letter
- Letters demonstrating community involvement
- Tax records, Social Security records, copy of marriage certificate, evidence of property ownership, letters of individuals who know the detained
Also, remember that the bond can only be posted by a Lawful Permanent Resident capable of reading the bond letter and should be accompanied by their identification and social security. The person paying the bond should be trusted by the detained, as the money will be returned to this individual once the case is closed after the detained appears at all their hearings.
Therefore, the detained needs to understand the immigration system and how everything works, as American laws can be a little challenging for illegal immigrants. Immigration bonds work just like other bail bonds except that they are meant for illegal immigrants. However, it is advisable to contact your immigration lawyer to help you understand the immigration system better and help with your case.